DeChambeau Wins PGA Playoff Opener by 4

Bryson DeChambeau never wavered when his four-stroke lead was sliced to two.

The 24-year-old from Clovis in California’s San Joaquin Valley closed with a 2-under-par 69 to win The Northern Trust by four shots over Tony Finau at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.

By claiming the first event of the playoffs with his third PGA Tour victory in 13 months, DeChambeau took the lead in the FedEx Cup standings.

“I was able to hold the lead from the beginning, the whole time, even though it got a little close, tight in the middle of the round,” said DeChambeau, who might have wrapped up a Captain’s Pick on the United States team for the Ryder Cup next month in Paris. “I was able to make a couple of putts to keep the lead, push forward and win.

“What happens, happens (in regard to the Ryder Cup). I just want to keep my consistency, keep playing the way I am, and I think I can do great things. I’ll get back at it next week in Boston (at the Dell Technologies Championship in round two of the playoffs).”

DeChambeau, who won the John Deere Classic last year and the Memorial Tournament earlier this season, birdied the first two holes and bounced back from two bogeys with two more birdies coming home to post a score of 18-under 266.

Finau, who finished second for the third time this season, closed with a 68, while Billy Horschel put up a bogey-free 68 and finished five back in a tie for third with Cameron Smith of Canada, who wound up at 69.

Aaron Wise of Lake Elsinore started the back nine with four birdies in five holes en route to a 67 and was one more shot down in a tie for fifth with Adam Scott of Australia, who sank a nine-foot eagle putt on the 17th hole in a 69, and Ryan Palmer, who holed out from 67 yards on the second hole for an eagle to jump-start a bogey-free 65.

Second-ranked Brooks Koepka shot 69 and finished seven strokes behind in a tie for eighth with third-ranked Justin Thomas, who wound up at 68, and Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, who came in at 69.

Top-ranked Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, tied for 12th after a 68, Phil Mickelson shot 71 to tie for 15th, 10th-ranked Jason Day of Australia also totaled 71 to tie for 20th, eighth-ranked Jordan Spieth tied for 25th with a 73, and Tiger Woods wound up in a tie for 40th after a 70.

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